In the early days of Versace, Donatella was known as the muse of her brother Gianni – a term she was never fond of. She describes their relationship more as a creator and critic. Arguments between them were often, but always well-intended and leading to great results.
Even though Allegra, Donatella’s daughter, inherited most of Versace, Dontaella was the one leading the brand ever since her brother’s death.
In 2008 she revived her brand Versus, all while leading Versace to the top of the fashion world. Back then, critics weren’t very optimistic about a brand being lead by a family member of a designer „whose greatest fame dates from an era long enough gone for fashion to have recycled it several times.“
What does she stand for?
Donatella was always a believer in personality above looks. She wanted girls with ego’s and fame. Even when working with her brother she pushed him to use supermodels while other designers were scared that their clothes would be overlooked because of the fame of a supermodel.
“It was never about changing the girls, it was about defining who they were. I always respected the personality.“
Her attitude about fashion is that it has to be fun. This affects the way she works with models, looking after them, making sure they feel good in what they wear and making sure they are having fun while doing so. Maybe it’s because she is a woman and understands what a girl feels like, but that seems like a basic conclusion to a complicated personality. What she does has nothing to do with gender or oppression. Her personality is above that. As for natural girls, she jokes about not even knowing what her natural hair color is anymore, taking the pressure off being naturally beautiful and feeling ashamed for wanting to change things on your body.
“I don’t even know what my natural colour is. Natural? What is natural? What is that? I do not believe in totally natural for women. For me, natural has something to do with vegetables.”
In March 2018 she announced that Versace will no longer use fur for their clothes.
“I don’t want to kill animals to make fashion. It doesn’t feel right.”
Versace is not the first brand to take this step, but whenever a big luxury brand takes on a risk like this, it’s worth respect.
Versace and American Crime Story
In 2018 American Crime Story released their second season, depicting the murder of Giovanni Versace. Donatella, as well as other family members, decided to speak out against it. She released a statement saying it still hurts, after all this time, to have her brother’s death represented untruthfully.
Before the show started shooting rumors spread about Stefani J. A. Germanotta (Lady Gaga) being the one to play Donatella in said show, but the role fell on actress Penelope Cruz. No surprise, given the fact that Stefani and Donatella seem to have much respect for each other and Donatella was against the show from the beginning.
Penelope didn’t take the role lightly either, she contacted Donatella for approval before joining the team.
“Everybody involved in the show feels the same way about Donatella. We see her as some kind of heroine — somebody that had to go through such a difficult time, a difficult situation, and during that emotional [time], she had to have the entire weight of this brand, of this empire, on her shoulders.”
Tribute of the year
The Spring 2018 Versace show at Milan Fashion Week brought back Gianni’s patterns in modern designs. Evolving with the times, but still remaining Versace seemed effortless for Donatella.
The show was a tribute to her brother, 20 years after his death, was uplifting and inspiring to watch. butterfly prints, the Medusa heads, studded leather and the safety pins, worn by supermodels of our generation.
“What he was doing, no one else was doing at the time. That’s why he became Gianni Versace, and young people today like to hear our brand’s story — it’s a story of love and of suffering, and we do something different than everybody else.” Donatella announced in a recent interview.
Staying humble and never praising herself still got her far in the fashion world. Donatella won Designer of the Year and confirmed the icon status of Donatella Versace.
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